Altaf Hamid Rao.
MIRPUR (AJK): Azad Jammu Kashmir Population Welfare Minister Dr. Mustafa Bashir said here on Monday that in view of the alarming and rapid population growth a bill for legislation to discourage the unbridled increase in population could be moved in Azad Jammu & Kashmir Legislative Assembly in the near future after due consultation with all concerned stake holders to discourage the trend.
He was speaking as chief guest after inaugurating the 2-day Capacity Building Workshop on Population Planning held under the auspices of the UNFPA and Ministry of National Health Services Regulation & Coordination of the Govt. of Pakistan with the coordination of the AJK Population Welfare Department in the light of recent recommendations of Council of Common Interest (CCI) for ensuring the functional integration of the AJK Population Welfare and Health Departments through raising awareness among healthcare service providers to rationalize the population of the country including AJK with available resources.
It may be added that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, is a UN organization. The UNFPA says it “is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled”.
Secretary Population Welfare of AJK government Raja Muhammad Razzaque, senior officials /experts from Ministry of National Health Service including Director Ehsan ul Haq, Additional Director Health AJK Dr. Asghar Ali Chaudhry, Director Population Welfare Muhammad Zeashan Arif, CEO Rahnuma-Family lanning Association of Pakistan Syed Kamal Shah, Head of TSU UNFPA Abdul Ghaffar Khan and others also addressed the moot which was largely attended by the medicos including District Health Officers, Medical Superintendents of the state run hospitals and seasoned gynecologists from across Azad Jammu Kashmir. senior Kashmiri journalist and Director CPDR Altaf Hamid Rao, Country Director Muslim Hands UK Raja Arslan Nusrat, Director Information AJK Mirza Bashir Ahmed, Divisional Head PID Mirpur Javed Malik and others.
While inaugurating the grand conference cum capacity building workshop AJK Minister for Population Welfare, TEVTA & Information Technology Dr. Mustafa Bashir called for the vibrant collective role of the AJK State Health and Population Welfare departments to ensure balanced and friendly rate of population in the state matching for a developing and prosperous state.
He lauded UNFPA and the Secretary Population Welfare Department of AJK Government Raja Muhammad Razzaq for their untiring efforts through their integrated intellect and policies to ensure balanced rate of population in Azad Jammu Kashmir through raising awareness among the masses besides other stake holders through holding series of such capacity building events.
Dr. Mustafa Bashir said that the AJK government would do its best, keeping within its available resources to make the population planning and welfare programs complete success.
Referring to the rate of mortality of mothers during see-section (surgery) or normal delivery, the population welfare minister said that hospitals were not mostly at fault to this direction, rather the anemia mostly cause death during pregnancy or delivery due to the use of the poor-quality diet. “As such the better quality diet for mother is imperative during entire course of pregnancy”, the minister Dr. Mustafa Bashir, also a medical doctor by education, added.
Earlier in his opening remarks on this occasion , Secretary Population Planning Department of AJK Government Raja M. Razzaq called for vibrant population planning in Pakistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir in view of the alarming increased population in the country.
He emphasized for functional integration of the State Health & Population Planning Departments aimed at to achieve the objectives of rationalizing population in the country keeping in view the available resources besides meeting the commitment that Pakistan has made before various international forums i.e. ICPD, FP2020 etc.
Raja elaborated the aims and objectives of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) recommendations that too blessed of, what he stated, the backing of apex court of Pakistan for ensuring the integration of the State Health and Population Planning Departments to ensure their vibrant role through the Capacity Building Workshops for their services providers.
Raja Razzaque continued while referring to eight areas identified in CCI recommendations said that availability of contraceptives commodity in the country as big challenge because of involvement of international procurement procedures. He focused for pool procurement of contraceptives to ensure economy of scale.
He urged that it was not the single population welfare departments rather the federal, provincial and regional governments as well as civil society organizations and international development partners as a joint commitment should take lead for population management for the wellbeing of our people in their respective domains as rapid population growth being a key challenges for the country needs to dealt as priority agenda, he emphasized.
Razzaque highly appreciated the role of the Ministry of National Health Services of the government of Pakistan and United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) for disseminating awareness and bringing the key stakeholders on one page.
He revealed that the seminars cum capacity building workshops, being held in various parts of 6 the country besides AJK, were being funded by United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) with coordination of ministry of National health services regulation & coordination.
Secretary of the State Population Welfare Department revealed that since National Census (including AJK and GB) – 2017 recorded the total population of over 207.7 million in the country including Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan emerged as the 6th largest populous country the world over.
Quoting experts, Razzaque, also formerly Director General Environmental Protection Agency of AJK government, observed that since the projected growth might further strain water, forests and arable land resources besides putting the economic grains, secured in the recent years, to the back log, the poor state of affairs regarding population planning in Pakistan, was taken serious notice by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in Human Rights case No. 17599 of 2018 regarding alarming high population growth rate in the country – and inter alia termed that ‘the fast raising population rate in Pakistan is a ticking bomb which will certainly not wait till it is convenient for us to take note of it’, he observed.